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Commemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York online

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stead, which he operated, with the exception
of three years he was engaged in merchandis-
ing at Little Rest, Dutchess county. Three
children came to brighten their home: Clark
A., a farmer of the town of Washington; Mar-
ian and Isaac. Mrs. Haight was called from
this earth in ICS93, leaving many friends to
mourn her departure from their midst.

Our subject is numbered among the sub-
stantial and thrifty farmers of his township,
where he owns a valuable farm of i 50 acres,
which for the care and labor bestowed upon it
yields a golden tribute in rich and bountiful
harvests. His ballot is generally cast with the
Republican party, but he is also a strong Pro-
hibitionist. He believes that precept should
be accompanied by practice, and his exemplary
life has won the confidence and respect of all.

GEORGE BROWN, a wealthy agriculturist
residing near Fishkill Plains, Dutchess
county, is one of the most progressive and sci-
entific workers in that ancient calling to be
found in this region, his extensive estate being
managed in a model manner.

He is the son of the late David H. Brown,
who was born in London, England, April 20,
1806, and crossed the Atlantic at the early age
of twelve years, in the care of a friend of the
family. After a short stay in Quebec, Canada,
he ran away and joined a party of Indian
traders, with whom he remained about five
years at the head of the Mississippi. On lea\*-
ing them he went to Nantucket and learned
the ship-carpenter's trade, which he followed
throughout his active business life, principally
in New York City, but to some extent in Geor-
gia and New Orleans, La. In politics he was
in his later years a Republican. He married



Miss Maria Van Slyck, a lady of Holland-Dutch
descent, whose ancestors were among the earli-
est settlers in Columbia county, where her
father, Barant Van Slyck, was a prominent
farmer. For some years after his marriage
Mr. Brown made his home in New York City;
but in 1 86/ he bought the farm now owned by
our subject, and resided there a few years.
His wife died December 12, 1869, and in 1872
he purchased another farm on the banks of the
Hudson river, where he passed his declining
years in retirement. He departed this life
September 19, 1889.

George Brown, whose name opens this
sketch, was born in New York City, February
13, 1 84 1, and was the eldest of three children.
Henry, the second son, is now a patient in the
Hudson River State Hospital; he succeeded to
the farm lying on the Hudson. Catherine, the
youngest child, died in infancy. After ac-
quiring an education in the schools of the
metropolis, our subject engaged in the retail
grocery business; but since 1867 he has lived
upon his farm, which contains 235 acres, and
lies upon the line between Wappinger and East
Fishkill. He raises a variety of crops, and
devotes much of his time to the care of his
estate. So far, he has not donned the matri-
monial yoke. Intelligent and progressive in
his ideas, he stands high in his locality. He
votes the Republican, ticket, and is a member
of the F". & A. M., Hopewell Lodge No. 596.

GEORGE HUGHES. Among the leading
merchants of Foughkeepsie, Dutchess
county, is found this gentleman, who is pro-
prietor of the largest furniture establishment
on the Hudson river.

Mr. Hughes was born in County Armagh,
Ireland, February 8, 1S43, and is a son of
I'Vancis and Rose (Ward) Hughes, the former
(jf whom was born in County .Armagh, in 1808.
The family is of Welsh-Briton ancestry, but
nio:;t of its members have been residents of
Ireland for centuries past, and the old home-
stead in the county mentioned is still in the
hands of relatives of our subject. For many
years the men of this family have been build-
ers and contractors, and were the leaders in
this line of business in their locality; also had
contracts in England. Scotland and on the
continent. Charles Hughes, an uncle of our
subject, built the cathedral in the city of
Armagh, the church and school in Middle-

town, and the church and parochial school in
Ready; he was also a great railroad bridge
builder in the British Isles. His son Charles
succeeded him in business, and owns the old
homestead yet. Bernard Hughes, a cousin of
Francis, is the largest baker in the world, his
bread finding its way to the continent, and to
England and Scotland; he grinds his own
flour, and ships car-loads of bread every
morning, employment being given to four hun-
dred men in his establishments. His popular-
ity is great, and he has served as mayor of
Belfast, the chief city in the North of Ireland.
The Right-Rev. John Hughes, formerly Arch-
bishop of New York, was of this family, and
many other Catholic prelates originated from

Owen Hughes, the grandfather of our sub-
ject, and who was a farmer and builder, mar-
ried Miss PhcL-be Thornton, a native, like him-
self, of County Armagh, and a member of one
of the oldest families of that section, of an-
cient Briton ancestors who settled in Ireland
after the Conquest of Britain by the Romans.
This family also had many extensive contract-
ors and builders in New York City, William,
Bernard, John, Peter and Hugh Thornton be-
ing of the number. Seven children were born
to Owen Hughes and his wife, as follows:
Bernard, who was a large land owner. George
(whom our subject is named after), who died
when a young man; he was noted for his great
strength and athletic powers. Charles, who
remained in Ireland. Francis, who came to
America. Mathew, who lived in Ireland.
Phcebe, who married a Mr. Hagan, of Middle-
town, County Armagh. Bridget, who never,
married, and remained in Ireland.

F"rancis Hughes, the father of our subject,
received a liberal education, for his time, in
the schools of Middletown and city of Armagh,
and learned the cooper's trade. Prior to
coming to America he also followed farming
and cooperage, dealing in cattle in conjunction
with his trade. In 1840 he built a fine stone
house on his farm at Carriclane. On first ar-
riving in this country he lived for a time in
Rochester, N. Y., where I'Vancis L. Hughes
and Edward Denney (a relative) lived. He
afterward went to New York City, and was
engaged with the Thornton Brothers in build-
ing and contracting in that city and in Brook-
lyn for a number of years. In partnership
with George Clark, he erected several blocks
of buildings in those cities, and about 1854



took a contract from Matthew V'assar to build
V'assar Row on Main street, and for the large
carriage factory of J. W. Fredericks, in Pough-
keepsie. In all of these contracts they did all
the work, masonry, carpentering, etc., com-
pleting each job in full, and turning the keys
over to the owners.

On May i, 1854, George Clark and Mr.
Hughes brought a boatload of building tools
and material, twenty-five workmen and their
families, their own families and house-furnish-
ing goods, and Mr. Hughes took up his resi-
dence in Poughkeepsie, where he carried on
business the remainder of his life. During his
later years he became a great friend of Mat-
thew Vassar, acting as a sort of manager and
confidential adviser. Mr. Hughes was a man
of strong will and great energy, and was success-
ful in his enterprises, becoming quite wealthy
before his death. In 1842 he was married
to Miss Rose Ward, daughter of Bryan Ward,
of County Monaghan, Ireland, the same county
from which Gen. John A. Logan came. The
Wards were an influential family in Ireland,
and of old Irish stock going back before the
time of St. Patrick, and were largely engaged
in farming and stock-raising, while Bryan
Ward was a great horse-breeder, jobber and
dealer. Col. James Kelly, who succeeded Col.
Corcoran, 69th Regiment, after the battle of
Bull Run, was of this family. Two children
were born to Francis Hughes and his wife:
George, the subject of this sketch, and Sarah
Ann, who became the wife of Patrick Camp-
bell of Brooklyn, but is now deceased. Mr.
Campbell has just retired from the Brooklyn
police force, in which he made a fine record
of over twenty years' service. Francis Hughes
died February 5, 1882, and his wife on April
29, 1873.

George Hughes obtained his early education
in the schools of Middletown, County Armagh,
Ireland, where he was under the instruction of
Prof. Afinew, a member of the family of which
the celebrated Dr. Agnew, of New York, is
one. After coming to America he attended St.
Paul's school, in Brooklyn, of which Prof.
Bridges was in charge, and finished his school-
ing in Poughkeepsie. He has been a great
reader all his life, has a most retentive mem-
ory and is especially well-versed in history.
He is a man of broad and progressive ideas,
well-informed on a variety of subjects, and
keeps abreast of the times.

After leaving school Mr. Hughes learned

the trade of a carriage painter and finisher with
David Olmstead, with whom he was employed
until i860. He then took charge of a carriage
shop at Libertyville, Ulster county, for two
years, and the following year worked for the
Brewsters, in New York City, at his trade. In
1864 he moved to Peekskill, and took charge
of a carriage shop for Golding & Lent. On
October i, following same, he came back to
Poughkeepsie and went into business for him-
self on Grand street, where he worked at car-
riage manufacturing, painting and trimming un-
til 1867. He then went into the Red Mill
building, his business having largely increased,
he doing the painting and trimming work for
the small wagon and carriage makers for from
thirty to forty miles around Poughkeepsie,
and making a financial success of a then new
business enterprise.

In February, 1870, Mr. Hughes bought
out Charles H. Wygant, a carriage manufac-
turer in Newburgh, Orange Co. , N. Y. , and
who had just been elected sheriff, and carried
on the business very successfully until 1873.
The lease being broken, however, by the sale
of the property by John P. Embler's creditors,
Mr. Hughes was obliged to give up the prop-
erty, so in 1873 he returned to Poughkeepsie,
and on April 29, of the same year, purchased
the large building comprising Nos. 406, 408
and 410 Main street. Of this he retained No.
406 for his own establishment, as carriage re-
pository, same year building a three-story brick
structure in the rear of Nos. 406, 408 and 410,
for his carriage and sleigh manufactory, and fit-
tad up the remainder for the furniture store and
warerooms of Coe & Deyo. In 1S75 he sold
out the carriage manufacturing business and
leased the building to Schoonmaker & Bailey for
a term of ten years, for a time retiring from
active business; but his energetic nature would
not allow him to long remain idle, and in the
fall of the same year he took up the auction
and commission business, which he carried on
until 1880. In 1887 Mr. Hughes purchased
the old George Carson property, known as Nos.
•398, 400, 402 and 404 Main street, and Nos.
4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 South Hamilton street, in-
cluding the corner of those two streets. The
buildings on South Hamilton street had been
old frame landmarks, which Mr. Hughes
caused to be torn down, in their place erecting
the present substantial and commodious stores.
The South Hamilton street property consisted
of a solid rock, towering some twenty-five or



thirly feet above the level of the street, a prop-
erty that real-estate dealers were afraid to spec-
ulate in. Undoubtedly the site was valuable,
and at one time the former owner had refused
as much as $40,000 for it! Four years were
spent by Mr. Hughes in blasting and hauling
away this massive rock before it was brought to
a proper level, and the cellar floor for the block
of buildings about to be erected there is solid
rock. The foundation and inside masonry of
the new Christ Church building in Poughkeep-
sie is of rock hauled from this "quarry,"
while the foundations for hundreds of houses
were made of it. and thousands of loads of
"chips ■' and broken stone were sold and de-
livered to the city at ten cents a load, for
street improvement purposes, which was about
one-tenth of their value. On the corner of
Main and South Hamilton streets there now
stands a fine brick building, which Mr. Hughes
concluded to put up after doing some blasting
in the blue-stone rock foundation, hewing a fine
cellar out of the solid rock. He owns the
large stores fronting on Nfain street, three
stories in height, equipped with the largest
plate-glass front in the city, and occupying a
very prominent location. In the meantime
Mr. Hughes had been gradually working into the
furniture trade, and in 1880 he opened up a
furniture establishment which has constantly
increased in size, and volume of business, and
to which he has added the manufacture of
some of the best of his goods, the carriage
factory having been converted into a furniture
factory and store house. Twice each year
Mr. Hughes takes a business trip to the prin-
cipal furniture markets in the country — Grand
Rapids, New York City, Chicago, Detroit,
Cincinnati, etc., buying from manufacturers
in car-load lots, securing, also, e.xclusive
agency, and choice of manufactured goods,
something unusual for places outside of large
cities. In 1885 Mr. Hughes admitted his son,
Charles F., into partnership, and the concern
has since so continued, the volume of business
steadily increasing each year.

Mr. Hughes' traveling has not always been
on matters of business, for he has made some
most pleasant and interesting journej'S "on
pleasure bent." On July 8, 1 891, he set out for
a six-months' tour across the Atlantic, the voy-
age being made in the " City of New York,"
on which were Prince George of Greece (with
whom Mr. Hughes became personally ac-
quainted) and retinue. In Ireland, our sub-

ject visited his old home and birth-placc, saw,
conversed and visited with hundreds of friends
and relatives, and made a tour of the island
from Cape Clear to the Giant's Causeway; in
Scotland he saw, among many other interest-
ing sights, the celebrated bridge over the Firth
of Forth; then toured through England where
he saw all the principal points of interest in
London and vicinity), Wales, France and part
of Germany. In the summer of 1S96 he took
an ocean tour along the Eastern seaboard.


cluding that of the

Canadian Maritime prov-
inces, visiting St. John (New Brunswick 1, and
sailing up the St. John river to Fredericton,
thence proceeding to Halifax (Nova Scotia),
and from there homeward, via Boston and New

On September 20, 1863, Mr. Hughes was
married to Miss Bridget Carroll, of Ohioville,
Ulster Co., N. Y. , and member of the family
of "Charles Carroll of Carrollton," one of
the signers of the Declaration of Independ-
ence, and John Carroll, first Catholic Bishop
of Baltimore and all America, and a native of
Waterford, Ireland. Six children were born
of this union: Charles Francis, who will be
spoken of more fully presently; Mary Bridget,
at home; George Dennis, employed in the De-
partment of Public Printing at Washington,
D. C. ; William Carroll, employed in his fa-
ther's business; Rose Agnes (deceased), and
Loretta Anna, at home. Charles F. was born
June 29, 1864, in Peekskill, N. Y., received a
liberal education, and graduated from Pough-
keepsie High School, of the Alumni Associa-
tion, of which institution he was first secre-
tary. On November 19, 1S90, he was mar-
ried, in Poughkeepsie, to Miss Mary Skelly,
daughter of John Skelly, and two children are
living, viz.: George Francis and Charles Will-
iam. In 1 88 5 Charles F. Hughes became as-
sociated in his father's business, as above re-
lated. For the past five or six years he has
been inspector of elections.

In 1892, George Hughes, our subject, pur-
chased his residence property. No. 51 N. Clin-
ton street, fronting on the Mansion Square
Park, and in the following year he remodeled
and enlarged the building, making it into a
large suitable family residence, where his mar-
ried son also resides. In addition to his many
real-estate investments, he owns eight cleared
buildinglotson " The Heights" at Newburgh,
and it may be here mentionad, as another il-
lustration of his shrewdness and business sa-



gacity, that in iS66 he built the residence No.
185 Union street, a very substantial structure,
and in 1873 sold it and an adjoining building
lot for $10,000. He has been remarkably suc-
cessful in his various enterprises, a fact due to
his untiring perseverance, good judgment and
reliable business methods, which have given
him a deservedly high standing with the pub-
lic; his word is as good as his note; he has
always paid one hundred cents to the dollar.
He is progressive in his ideas, liberal in his aid
of all worthy objects, and has done much to-
ward the growth and prosperity of his city. In
politics he is a Republican, and is a strong Pro-
tectionist from principle ; has made a study of the
question, and has taken an active part in calling
the attention of the people to its beneficial
results. He served as chairman of the first
Republican convention held during the Harri-
son campaign, of 1880. Although giving
much time and attention to political matters,
he has never been an office seeker. He and
his family attend the services of St. Peter's
Church, Poughkeepsie, and take an interest in
all Church work. He is broad and open in
his religious views, claiming that any religion
is better than none. During the war of the
Rebellion Mr. Hughes was captain of Com-
pany C, 2 1st N. Y. V. I., which regiment was
organized in Dutchess county. In 1870 he
took an active part in the Fenian raid on Can-
ada, being District Center, at the time, of
Dutchess, Columbia, Orange, Putnam and
Rockland counties. He was captain of an
Irish volunteer military company, and for-
warded over a hundred men to Ogdensburg
and northern New York, transportation and
equipage being largely paid out of his own

To the above Mr. Hughes adds; "He
was a firm believer at the time that the men
of Ireland had a perfect right to strike the
British flag wherever it floated, and counte-
nanced the scheme of the Fenian Brotherhood
to capture Canada and make it a base of oper-
ations to work from for the liberation of Ire-
land. After the capture of Fort Erie and de-
feat of the ' Queens Own ' crack Canadian
regiment by aljout 500 of the Fenian volun-
teers, who succeeded in crossing Lake Erie on
floats. President Johnson issued his neutrality
proclamation, and Gen. Mead, who was in
command of the lakes, was only too eager to
enforce it. The 50,000 Fenian volunteers
who had then assembled on the Canadian bor-

ders came to the conclusion that rather than
precipitate the United States Government into
a war with England, they gave up the project
and returned to their homes, notwithstanding
the fact that reinforcements were continuously
arriving from all parts of the United States,
the majority of whom were men who had just
been discharged from the United States army,
after the Southern Rebellion was suppressed,
and for love of old Ireland volunteered their
services without fee or reward. There was no
power on earth that could have stopped them
from capturing Canada; but the United States
had just passed through four years of the great
Rebellion, and Irishmen thought too much of
America to plunge her into a war with England
so soon thereafter."

AMBROSE M. CULVER, one of the most
prominent agriculturists of the town of

Northeast, Dutchess county, is a native of that
county, born in the town of Amenia, Septem-
ber 2, 1869. His grandfather, Bachus Culver,
who was born in the town of Pine Plains, was
a noted farmer of his day, owning and culti-
vating, in early life, a large tract of land in
the town of Pine Plains. He was also en-
gaged in cattle dealing, and, his ventures being
uniformly successful, he accumulated a fine
property. By his marriage he became the
father of three children: Dudley, a member
of the firm of Sherman & Culver, of New York
City; Lavinia, who married William Bartlett,
a brick manufacturer of the town of Amenia;
and Walter B. , our subject's father. Bachus
Culver was a member of the Presbyterian
Church, to which the later generations have
also adhered. His last years were spent in
Amenia town, where he and his wife both died.
Walter B. Culver was born at the old
homestead in the town of Pine Plains, and re-
mained there until 1864, when he married Miss
Harriet Mygatt, daughter of Ambrose My-
gatt, a leading resident of the town of Amenia,
and a descendant of one of the oldest families
of the town. For some years prior to his mar-
riage, Mr. Culver located upon the Bartram
farm, near Sharon Station, where he remained
several years, and then removed to the My-
gatt farm, in Amenia, where he now resides.
He has been very successful, and is nov.- the
largest landholder in the township, owning
four farms besides the one upon which he re-
sides, comprising in all over 1,000 acres. He



is a Democrat, and has been active in local
politics, holding office as assessor, road com-
missioner, excise commissioner and school
trustee. In educational matters he has taken
great interest, and has been ready to befriend
every movement foi the benefit of the commu-
nity. He and his wife are leading members of
the Presbyterian Church at Amenia, of which
he is a trustee. They have had eleven chil-
dren, of whom eight are now living: May
Emily, Laura B., Ambrose M., Dudley D.,
Harry W., Arthur B., George R. and Bessie,
all of whom are at home except our subject
and Dudley, who is a farmer of the town of

Ambrose M. Culver was educated in the
public schools of his native town, and later at-
tended Amenia Seminary for about six years,
receiving a good English education. After
leaving school, at the age of seventeen, he
stayed with his father four years, and then
took the Wheeler farm, just east of his father's,
and conducted it on his own account two
years. In 1893 he purchased the George
Clark farm, in Northeast town, George Clark
being a brother of Mrs. Culver's mother. Ac-
cording to the original survey of this farm it
contained 600 acres, but it is probab!}' larger
than that. It is on the State line, and a por-
tion of it is in Connecticut. Mr. Culver has
made many improvements upon the estate, and
has made it one of the best farms in the town.

On February 15, 1894, Mr. Culver mar-
ried Miss Ida Estelle Chapman, daughter of
David S. Chapman, of Millerton, a well-known
traveling salesman. They are members of the
Baptist Church at Millerton, and are promi-
nent in the best social circles of the locality.
Being an intelligent and public-spirited young
man, Mr. Culver has taken an active interest
in local improvement, and is an active worker
in the Democratic ranks, always giving his in-
fluence toward the selection of able and relia-
ble officials.

_ are numerous tine farms in Dutchess
county which will compare favorably with any
others in the State, as regards production, and
also to the improvements that have been made
upon them, many of which places are owned
by men comparatively young in years. As a
representative of this class of agriculturists,
great pleasure is taken in presenting the name

of the subject of this notice, who has always
lived in the town of Pine Plains. He was
born on the old Strever homestead December
II, 1861.

His paternal grandfather, Adam A. Strever,
was a native of .Xncram, Columbia Co., X. Y.,
born November 24, 1793. He made farming
his life occupation and continued to reside in
Ancram until April, 1835, when he removed to
the town of Pine Plains, Dutchess county,
and purchased a farm consisting of 188 atres,
on which he spent the remainder of his life,
there dying July 14, 1866. He was a Jackson
Democrat, and a loyal, patriotic man. Enlist-
ing in the war of 18 12, he immediately started
for Plattsburg, but the battle was fought be-
fore he reached his destination, and he was
discharged. He stood firmly by the Union
during the late Rebellion. A faithful member
of the Presbyterian Church, he gave his sup-
port to everything that would advance the
moral and material welfare of the community,
and was a public-spirited and enterprising
man. In the family to which he belonged
were four sons and four daughters. His

Online LibraryJ.H. Beers & CoCommemorative biographical record of Dutchess County, New York → online text (page 112 of 183)